It’s finally here. December.The last month of Year, when most people are focused on shopping lists and New Year’s Eve plans.
As a business owner, you cannot rest yet. There are important small business tasks to take care of:
Take a look on your financial results for this year
It’s pretty easy if you have an accountant or you have kept your records straight.
Was Last Year a good year? How does it compare to the previous one? Or so on?
Are you seeing an improvement in your business performances? Was it tougher to get clients?
See where you can improve
OK, don’t just look at the numbers, understand them and what’s wrong with your business or what helped you achieve success.
What’s your best selling product/service? Where do most of your clients come from? What is their overall feeling about your business and your services? What are your biggest mistakes?
For my business the issues were not having enough time to work, not focusing better, running too many ‘shows‘ etc.
In the past months, I have done some ‘soul searching’ to really understand how to achieve the best results with minimal effort (I take care of a toddler, so my working hours during a day are maybe 2, if I am lucky). Not a lot of time to do all my work, so I need to prioritize and really focus on what gives me the best results.
Give your website an overhaul
Modern design trends change year by year, so do the strategies to get more clients, to better convert, build a list etc.
If you are not a web designer, hire someone to spruce up your website and give it that 2016 feeling. If you don’t do it, at least some of your competitors are working on it.
If you are not sure you do need a re-design and new strategies, you can always ask for an inexpensive report. You’ll find out what needs working on your website and how to really make it better. All my clients who received these custom reports have drastically improved their traffic and conversion rates.
Since I am doing all my web work, I always spend the last days of the year tweaking my websites, adding new cool features, cleaning up the code etc.
It allows me to enter the new year with improved performances and it does make me feel better.
Have you achieved your goals?
Another good small business task to do in this time of the year is to simply take a look at your previous business goals.
It’s not just for bragging rights or to ruin your Christmas fun, but it allows you to really assess your current situation and also get the starting point for your next task:
Set your business goals for the next year
Don’t go chasing unicorns and plan to earn a million bucks, if you barely made 30 grand the past year.
Your goals should be based on your current progress and issues you had in the past year.
Sure, do aim higher, but don’t go for unattainable goals. You’ll just be pretty sad in about 12 months’ time.
Look at your inventory
Even if you are not selling products, the fact you do have an office (even if it’s home-based), already warrants for an inventory. List your business belongings, see what need repairs or replacing, what you should acquire etc.
If you do sell physical items, then your job is already cut for you, there’s a lot of items to look at, run numbers etc.
Take care of your taxes and plan for the next year
Depending on the fiscal system you are doing business in, the end of the year can mean paying some taxes or just preparing for some during the spring.
Whatever your situation, do take care of this so that it’s easier to pay them on time.
If you have an accountant, do they work together, if not, make the calculations and set money aside.
Is there any chance to get some deductions? Maybe some fiscal tweaks on your business that would save you money?
Use this time wisely and you can start 2016 on the right foot.
Spend time reading
No, I’m not advising anyone to become a recluse during the Holidays, but, as we all know, for many businesses this is a pretty slow time. You could read some more business books, maybe delve into online marketing a bit, anything you think would inspire you and help you become better on your business.
I am constantly taking courses and reading as much as I can (from blogs to books). It allows me to stay on top of my game and really give my clients the best service I could.
Backup and secure your business files
It’s something we need to do constantly, but we are all busy and tired most of the time. If you do find some hours to ‘kill’, taking care of these backups will clearly save you future headaches.
One might think that all I do during holidays is work.
To be honest, most of the time I do set 1-2 hours at least even during these days to take care of my business and websites. I am clearly a workaholic (or, to be honest, it relaxes and energizes me).
Still, even I set aside time to just relax and have some fun. Spend time with my family, visit some close friends, enjoy some nicely cooked meals.
It might seem counter-productive for some, but I had some of my best business ideas during travel or off times like this. My brain is ‘switched off’ when it comes to business and yet, the more relaxed I get, the more ideas I get about my small biz.
What other small business tasks do you think are good to have in mind this month?